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It’s probably not that big of a news scoop that there are a zillion varieties of yogurt to choose from. But you may be surprised to learn that 4-in-5 brands make misleading label claims. Does your favorite yogurt promise you the world, but fail to deliver because they mix in junk ingredients that can do more harm than good?

Put your favorite yogurt to the test with the Healthy Yogurt Challenge. There are 10 BestBrands Guidelines that separate the really healthy yogurts from the imposters.

Healthy Yogurt Challenge
Before we give you the 411 on how to choose a healthy yogurt, we want to test your knowledge. Below are two brands of yogurt. From the front label they appear almost identical. However, the ingredients list will give you all the clues you need to distinguish the healthy variety from the imposter. Let the games begin.

Stonyfield Farm Organic Yogurt Fruit

stonyfield_farm_fruit_on_the_bottom

6 oz. Blueberry

INGREDIENTS: Cultured Pasteurized Organic Low Fat Milk, Organic Blueberries, Naturally Milled Organic Sugar, Pectin, Natural Flavor, Organic Elderberry Juice Concentrate (For Color). Contains Our Exclusive Blend Of Six Live Active Cultures Including L. Acidophilus, Bifidus, L. Casei, And L. Rhamnosus

 

 

 

Dannon Yogurt Fruit

dannon_fruit_on_the_bottom
6 oz. Blueberry

INGREDIENTS: Cultured grade A lowfat milk, blueberries, sugar, fructose syrup, high fructose corn syrup, contains less than 1% of modified corn starch, pectin, kosher gelatin, sodium phosphate, malic acid, natural flavor, calcium phosphate. Contains active yogurt cultures including L. acidophilus.

Decoding the Fine Print

The Stonyfield variety is made with all organic ingredients. It contains no junk ingredients and has SIX live active cultures.

The Dannon variety has one of our least-favorite chemical additives – high fructose corn syrup. It also contains three fillers (modified corn starch, kosher gelatin, and malic acid), and one preservative and one thickener (sodium phosphate and calcium phosphate). It contains three live and active cultures.

You guessed it…StonyField is the big winner.

The moral of our challenge: Don’t judge a yogurt by its label.

Yogurt Guidelines

To ensure that you make the healthiest yogurt choice, quick-scan the front label and then focus on the ingredients list.

1. Look for a short ingredients list.

2. Stick with low-fat or nonfat varieties – you save fat and calories without sacrificing taste.

3. Make sure the words “Live and Active Cultures” are printed on the container – and the more the better.

4. Avoid labels that say “heat treated after culturing” – this kills the active cultures.

5. Avoid front labels that say “light” – this is code for calorie-free artificial sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame, and acesulfame potassium

6. Avoid highly processed sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup.

7. Avoid preservatives like sodium citrate, potassium sorbate, and tricalcium phosphate.

8. Avoid cheap fillers like modified corn starch and kosher gelatin.

9. Avoid artificial colors like Red 40 and Blue 1

10. Bonus ingredients that are not must-haves, but are nice-to-haves:
Inulin – a natural dietary fiber.
Organic milk – you’ll take in fewer antibiotics and pesticides than non-organic milk.
Fortified with Vitamin D

Note: Plain yogurt varieties are your best bet. You’ll get more calcium and more protein, and take in less calories than the flavored varieties. However, if sweetened yogurt is preferred, look for varieties that have fruit on the bottom and are made with only all-natural sugar.

papaya-leaf-for-skin

As is evident from its name, papaya leaf juice is a juice extracted from the leaves of papaya plant. We all are aware of the health benefits of eating papaya fruit. But recently papaya leaf extract has gained popularity due to its medicinal properties and it can provide relief against some deadly diseases like dengue and cancer.

With the rise in the incidence of dengue fever, there has been an increasing need for a simple and inexpensive treatment and papaya leaf juice is the ultimate answer. Not only has it proven to be effective in fighting the symptoms of dengue fever but also in curing it. Apart from this, it also has anti-cancer properties as well as other health benefits.

How to Make Papaya Leaf Juice?

Since the papaya leaf juice is quite bitter in taste, it can be combined with other fruit juices. You can prepare papaya leaf juice at home by following the given steps.

Take several medium sized papaya leaves which are washed and partly dried. Cut them and place them in a sauce pan with around 2 liters of water.
Boil the water and leaves, and simmer without a lid until the water is reduced to half.
Now strain the liquid and store it in glass containers. It can be refrigerated and stored for 3 to 4 days. But fresh juice is always preferable.
The juice should be discarded if it becomes cloudy.
Alternatively, the juice can be squeezed by crushing the papaya leaves after removing the stems and other fibrous parts.
Although this juice is extremely beneficial, it should particularly be avoided by pregnant women as it may induce abortion. Moreover, it should not be consumed with any thyroid stimulators or Co-enzyme Q10.

Health Benefits of Papaya Leaf Juice:

As stated earlier, papaya leaf juice has proven to be effective in curing dengue fever. It offers a host of other health benefits. Some of the health benefits of papaya leaf juice are as follows.

1. Dengue is a deadly disease caused by dengue virus transmitted by the Aedes mosquito. This disease can be fatal at times and is characterized by symptoms such as high fever with headache, severe muscle pain, joint pain, red rashes on the body that can cause itching and a drastic drop in platelets count. So far no specific medicine has been formulated for this disease. Painkillers like Aspirin and Ibuprofen have their own side effects. Papaya leaf juice is a traditional method of curing dengue fever without posing any side effects. Scientific research and several case studies have indicated that papaya leaf juice contains the enzymes chymopapin and papain that boost platelets, also known as thrombocytes and also relieve symptoms. Pharmaceutical companies are already using papaya leaf extract preparations in the form of capsules and liquid formulas. The doctors recommend taking 20 to 25 ml of this juice twice a day for a week for quick results.

2. Papaya leaf has been found to possess anti- malarial properties as well. Thus, papaya leaf juice is often used in some parts of the world as a prophylactic for preventing malaria in certain endemic regions.

3. The greatest anti-cancer properties of papaya are concentrated in its leaf extract. According to a research conducted by the journal of Ethnopharmacology, papaya leaf juice contains certain enzymes that have dramatic cancer fighting properties against a wide range of tumors such as cervix cancer, breast cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer and pancreatic cancer without any toxic effects on the body. As a result, papaya leaf extract is often recommended as part of chemotherapy in some parts of the world. By regulating the T-cells, papaya leaf extract increases the immune system’s response to cancer.

4. Papaya leaves contain important nutrients such as vitamins A, B1, C and E, calories, protein, carbohydrates, calcium, phosphorus, iron and water. Pleaf juice has an important enzyme called papain that aids in digestion by breaking down the proteins naturally.

5. Papaya leaf juice contains over 50 active ingredients including the karpain compounds that inhibit microorganisms such as fungi, worms, parasites, bacteria as well as many forms of cancer cells. It is often used in herbal medicines to remove intestinal worms as it contains tannins that protect the intestine from re-infection from tanning proteins in the lining of the intestinal wall. This way the worms cannot attach themselves. Thus, they are effective in suppressing the cause of typhoid fever.

6. Another amazing benefit of papaya leaf juice is its ability to fight viral infection such as the common cold virus. It is a natural way of regenerating white blood cells and platelets. Papaya leaves contain over 50 ingredients including the vitamins A, C and E that support the immune system.

7. Fresh papaya leaves boiled with sliced pieces of orange aid in burning fat as papaya leaf juice is a perfect reducing agent.

8. Papaya leaf juice is effective in relieving menstrual pain. For this purpose, take 1 papaya leaf, add tamarind and salt, mix with a glass of water and boil. Drink this concoction after cooling it for relief.

Skin Benefits of Papaya Leaf Juice:

Papaya fruit is great for your skin and is incorporated in several face packs and skin care products to give you a healthy and glowing skin. Apart from the fruit, papaya leaf juice is beneficial for the skin in the following ways.

9. Papaya leaf juice has a higher content of vitamins A and C in comparison to the fruit, which promote skin health.

10. Papaya leaf juice acts as a skin cleansing agent. This can be attributed to the presence of karpain compounds that inhibit microorganisms and other toxins, thus giving you a clear skin and providing protection against skin problems like pimples, freckles and blemishes.

11. Juice of papaya leaves is effective in treating eczema. You can apply it on your affected areas after scrubbing.

12. Fresh papaya leaf juice helps in healing open wounds and sores.

13. The milky juice extracted from the tip of papaya leaves can soften the hardened skin or the corn/wart on the feet.

Hair Benefits of Papaya Leaf Juice:

Due to the abundance of vitamins, minerals and enzymes, papaya leaf extract is often used in a number of hair care formulations like shampoos and conditioners to promote hair growth, strengthen the hair shaft and ward off problems like balding, thinning, dandruff etc. Papaya leaf juice has the following benefits for hair.

14. Papaya leaf juice is often used by health care stores or salons for hair treatment. When used as a conditioner along with other ingredients like coconut milk and honey, it adds shine to dull, lifeless hair and softens coarse and unruly hair.

15. Papaya leaf extract is particularly used as an ingredient in anti-dandruff shampoos meant to control flakes and prevent dandruff. Due to the presence of karpain compounds, it is effective in removing dirt and oil, as well as chemical build up from hair without any side effects.

 

coffee1

Coffee, after decades of bad press, is finally coming into its own. There continue to be health reports that note the benefits of having a daily cup of coffee. In addition to research which shows that a daily cup of java could have positive effects on a person’s ability to stave off strokes, Parkinson’s disease and type 2 diabetes, recent research has shown that coffee drinkers can now add a lower risk of getting a certain type of liver cancer to the benefits of downing their favorite beverage.

Most common type of liver cancer foiled

Researchers from the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Southern California have shown a positive correlation between drinking coffee and a lower risk of hepatocellular carcinoma. These findings, targeted to this type of liver cancer, also known as HCC, were presented at the American Association of Cancer Research’s annual meeting. During that presentation, researchers noted that people who are at high risk for HCC should aim to drink coffee on a daily basis.

According to V. Wendy Setiawan, Ph.D., a doctor and associate professor at the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of California, the study involved following 179,890 women and men over the course of 18 years. The study participants were of varying races, including Latinos, Caucasians, Hawaiian Americans, African Americans and Japanese Americans. Researchers tracked the participants’ coffee consumption, as well as other factors related to their lifestyles.

Of the participants in the study, 498 of them were eventually diagnosed with HCC. Researchers, however, noted an interesting correlation between the amount of coffee consumed and the likelihood of the study’s participants to develop cancer. For those people who drank, on average, one to three cups of coffee each day, their risk for developing HCC was 29% lower compared to those who drank less than six cups of coffee each week.

Greater coffee consumption equals lower liver cancer risk

Even more startling were the results of those people who drank four, or more, cups of coffee each day. These people showed a 42% lower risk of developing liver cancer. While these results are encouraging, they are not the first time that a positive relationship between coffee consumption and a lower risk of liver cancer has been shown.

Years of studies show a positive result

In 2013, a study published in the medical journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology analyzed published data from years of studies. The studies pulled included 16 from between 1999 and 2012, with results showing a 40% reduction in the risk of HCC with the consumption of coffee. Additionally, the risk was slashed by 50% when individuals drank at least three cups of coffee each day.

The controversy surrounding one of the world’s most popular artificial sweeteners, aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), continues some 30 years after the chemical was rammed through the regulatory process by pharmaceutical interests, despite its well-documented dangers. And yet to this very day, many people are still unaware of the chemical sweetener’s sordid history, not to mention what aspartame is actually made from and how it affects the body and brain.

To many, aspartame is just another FDA-approved sugar alternative that has to be safe, otherwise it wouldn’t be on the market. But the truth about aspartame is much more sinister, including how the chemical sweetener gained market approval http://www.fda.gov. And there’s so much more to the aspartame story that you’ve probably never heard before, thanks to government collusion with powerful drug interests.

1) Aspartame is converted by the body into formaldehyde, a cancer-causing chemical.
Composed of three unique compounds, aspartame is a synergistically toxic chemical, meaning the sum of its individual parts is exponentially more toxic than each one by itself. And yet even in isolation, the three main constituents found in aspartame — aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol — are idiosyncratically toxic in their own right.

Free methanol in particular is highly toxic, converting first into formaldehyde and then into formic acid upon consumption. Unlike the methanol found in alcoholic beverages and various fruits and vegetables, the methanol produced by aspartame is not accompanied by ethanol, which acts as a protector against methanol poisoning. By itself, methanol embalms living tissues and damages DNA, and can cause lymphoma, leukemia, and other forms of cancer.

2) Aspartame causes obesity and metabolic syndrome.
Artificial sweeteners are typically viewed as a safe alternative to sugar, which many people now recognize as a cause of weight gain and metabolic disorders like diabetes when consumed in excess. But a number of scientific studies have found that chemicals like aspartame are perhaps even more damaging, as they promote weight gain in ways unrelated to caloric intake.

A study published in the journal Appetite back in 2013 found that compared to sucrose, a form of sugar, aspartame is actually worse in terms of promoting weight gain. Similar research published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine (YJBM) found that aspartame alters the body’s natural production of hormones, increasing both appetite and sugar cravings.

3) Reagan-appointed FDA commissioner helped get aspartame approved despite evidence showing its toxicity.
Believe it or not, aspartame was an accidental discovery made by scientists working on the development of an ulcer drug for G.D. Searle and Company, a pharmaceutical corporation that was later acquired by Monsanto in 1985. When researchers discovered that the chemical had a sweet taste, G.D. Searle presented it to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for commercial approval.

But the earliest safety studies conducted on the chemical found that it caused grand mal seizures and death in monkeys, findings that were withheld from the FDA. When FDA scientists discovered on their own that aspartame was unsafe, G.D. Searle made a strategic move, waiting for a new FDA commissioner appointed by the late Ronald Reagan to force the chemical through the approval process.

The details of this political transaction are spelled out in the following document posted at the FDA’s own website, but suffice it to say that aspartame was never proven to be safe. It was only through corruption that this artificial sweetener ended up making its way into more than 9,000 consumer products, many of which still contain it today:

http://www.fda.gov

4) Aspartame is made from the feces of genetically-modified (GM) E. coli bacteria.
Another disturbing fact about aspartame is that it is produced from the feces of genetically-modified E. coli bacteria. Similar to the fermentation process, E. coli are modified with special genes that cause them to produce unnaturally high levels of a special enzyme that, as a byproduct, produces the phenylalanine needed for aspartame production.

5) Aspartame crosses the blood-brain barrier, potentially causing permanent brain damage.
Aspartame is composed of roughly 40 percent aspartic acid, a free-form amino acid that has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. When excess amounts of this compound via aspartame enter the body, brain cells are bombarded with an excess of calcium. The result is neural cell damage and even cell death, which can lead to serious brain damage.

In extreme cases, exposure to aspartic acid, also known as aspartate, can cause neurological conditions like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease, and is also implicated in causing diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS) and dementia. Endocrine disorders, or imbalanced or inadequate hormone production, are also linked to so-called “excitotoxin” exposure, or exposure to free-form amino acids like aspartate that overstimulate the brain.

Approximately 71 million adults in the US suffer from high cholesterol, and only a third of these have it under control. (1) Considering that the condition significantly increases the risk of heart disease, management of high cholesterol is critically important. (2) While many Americans turn to prescription meds to control their cholesterol levels, there is a safer and more permanent approach: changing your diet. Read on to learn our picks for 10 amazing diet secrets to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease.

1. Edamame
These vibrantly colored soybeans have a sweet taste and an even sweeter body benefit: They’re rich in soluble fiber and isoflavones, both of which reduce cholesterol levels. An added benefit? Edamame is packed with protein — a delicious and do-gooding snack!

2. Oats
We all know that breakfast is an important way to keep your body fueled throughout the day. Why not multiply the energizing effects of your morning meal by reaching for the oats? Foods like oatmeal and oat-based cereals offer cholesterol-reducing properties thanks to a high soluble fiber content. Just how much can oat consumption reduce your cholesterol levels? Up to 7 percent! (3)

3. Green Tea
While black tea can also lead to decreased cholesterol levels, green tea is particularly effective, because it is prepared from leaves that have not undergone the fermentation process. The result? A higher concentration of cholesterol-lowering antioxidants called catechins.

4. Beans
Yes, this “musical fruit” is good for your heart, but why? Beans are high in soluble fiber, which binds cholesterols during the digestive process and propels them from the body. From kidney beans to black-eyed peas and from lentils to limas, beans are versatile, tasty and an important partner in the fight against high cholesterol.

5. Nuts
If you restrict your nut intake because of their high caloric content, reconsider. An abundance of research shows that nuts — including peanuts, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans, almonds and others — are rich in plant sterols, which prevent the absorption of cholesterol. Just a handful a day — up to two ounces — is all you need. (4)

6. Avocados
Creamy, flavorful antioxidant avocados contain oleic acid, which not only lowers bad (LDL) cholesterol but also gives good cholesterol a boost. As if that’s not enough, avocados are loaded with fiber and beta-sitosterol, a plant chemical which helps moderate cholesterol levels.

7. Pears
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but pectin-packed pears aren’t too shabby either — particularly when it comes to lowering cholesterol. In fact, fresh pears surpass apples in pectin content, which ushers cholesterol from the body before it is absorbed. To maximize fiber intake, don’t peel the skin: just wash and eat. Peaches, oranges and bananas are also loaded with this beneficial type of fiber.

8. Tomatoes
Don’t feel guilty about eating that bowl of whole-wheat pasta; just slather it in tomato sauce to help keep cholesterol in check. Tomatoes are bursting with lycopene, a plant compound which lowers LDL cholesterol levels. Cooked and processed tomatoes enhance lycopene absorption, so stock up on tomato juice, tomato soup and other tomato-based treats.

9. Eggplant
While eggplant may not immediately come to mind when pondering cholesterol-reducing foods, this purple plant offers a multitude of health benefits, including controlling LDL cholesterol levels. In fact, some research has shown that including eggplant in a meal lowers cholesterol by up to 30 percent thanks to its high soluble fiber content. (5) Okra also falls into the category of little known cholesterol-reducing veggies.

10. Fish
The benefits of a plant-based diet are increasingly evident, but sometimes you need to go fish. Salmon, lake trout, mackerel, herring, sardines and other fatty fish are high in LDL-reducing omega-3 fatty acids. Just how beneficial is eating fish? The American Heart Associations recommends its consumption at least twice weekly. (6)

If you suffer from high cholesterol, don’t reach for the pills. Instead, try these 10 foods which offer a simple — and delicious — way to reduce your cholesterol and enjoy optimal heart health.

You like milk?

Some resources and studies for you on dairy:

Dairy food may be the most potent factor in the development of breast cancer. Source: Paolo Toniolo et al., “Calorie-Providing Nutrients and Risk of Breast Cancer,” Journal of the National Cancer Institute 81:278-86, 1989.

Researchers found that breast cancer incidence was associated with higher consumption of cheese (as well as meat and alcohol) with cheese elevating risk the highest (2.7 times normal). Conversely, vegetable consumption offered significant protection (40 to 60 percent on average), especially green leafy vegetables. Source: F. Levi et al., “Dietary Factors and Breast Cancer Risk in Vaud, Switzerland,” Nutrition and Cancer 19:327-335, 1993.

Giving cow’s milk to babies may increase their risk of developing diabetes. Researchers reported that children with diabetes produced large amounts of antibodies against cow’s milk which may attack the pancreas cells which make insulin.

Source: J. Karjalainen et al., “A Bovine Albumin Peptide as a Possible Trigger of Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus,” New England Journal of Medicine 327:302–7, 1992.

You like milk?

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